Those being detained at U.S. airports because of President Donald Trump's executive order banning people from Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., including refugees, cannot be deported, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly of New York issued an emergency stay on Jan. 28, temporarily halting the removal of detained individuals, The Hill reports.
Since Trump enacted the ban on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries -- Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen -- from entering the U.S. on Jan. 27, those with approved refugee applications and valid visas have been denied entrance to the country and are being detained at U.S. airports.
“Clearly the judge understood the possibility for irreparable harm to hundreds of immigrants and lawful visitors to this country," ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement.
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Donnelly ruled that "there is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations subject" to Trump's order.
“This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil," Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said.
Following Donnelly's ruling, similar ones were issued in Virginia, Massachusetts and Washington state.
Under Trump's policy, refugees who have been approved for resettlement are banned from entering the country for 120 days, and all Syrian refugees are barred indefinitely.
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The order also applies to green card holders from the seven countries.
"President Trump and his administration are right to be concerned about national security, but it’s unacceptable when even legal permanent residents are being detained or turned away at airports and ports of entry," Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said in a statement.
A senior administration official said green card holders from the seven countries who are currently outside of the U.S. will have to obtain a waiver, which will be issued on a case-by-case basis to return to the country. Green card holders in the U.S. will have to meet with a consular official before leaving the country.
"It’s important to keep in mind that no person living or residing overseas has a right to entry to the U.S.," an administration official said.
Trump told reporters on Jan. 28 that the ban was not aimed at Muslims.
"It's not a Muslim ban, but we are totally prepared," he said.
Protests erupted at airports across the country, including those in New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, California and more, because of Trump's policy.
"No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here," demonstrators outside of San Diego International Airport chanted, according to the New York Post.
At Portland International Airport, protesters carried signs and chanted, "Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here," and, "No ban no wall America is for us all."